Acceptable hatred

For many people today, blanket denunciations of everyone in a group defined by skin color, religion, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, and so on is evil and unjustifiable, but denunciation of everyone in a political party based on spurious claims is enlightened and noble.

Today I saw a tweet by “@PortCityPisces,” someone I don’t know, retweeted by someone who should have had better judgment: “Republicans are Stupid, Racist, and Irrational.” There are at least 50 million registered Republicans in the US, and this person claims to know they’re all stupid, racist, and irrational (including perhaps a million black people) based on the party they designated when they signed up to vote. That is stupid and irrational, though not necessarily racist.

Party affiliation, unlike physical characteristics but like religion, is a matter of choice. Certainly some choices of affiliation are reasons for moral disapproval. Anyone in the KKK is presumably either a racist or an undercover agent. However, there are only two big political parties in the US, so the choices are limited to picking one of them, a minor party, or no party. The politicians elected by both parties have serious problems for anyone who values freedom and justice, but many people think they have to pick a major party or “throw away their vote.” You can say that they’ve made a bad choice, but ascribing serious vices to everyone who’s made it is stupid and disgusting.

It’s depressing that it’s even necessary to say this, but the tribalist mindset, the one that says “My people are good, everyone else is bad,” never goes away. When one target becomes unpopular, it latches on to another.

2 Responses to “Acceptable hatred”

  1. Nancy Lebovitz Says:

    Sean Haugh, a libertarian candidate for the Senate: “There is no political solution that starts with the other half of the country dropping dead!”

  2. mnemex Says:

    Have to agree. An interpretation of events (particularly in a working democracy) that assume that half of the country is stupid and vile is wrong. Find another one.

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